CATEGORY: CRM

REVIEWER: Eric Reid, director of business systems for Kiko Inc.

BACKGROUND: Kiko – Knowledge In, Knowledge Out – delivers innovative and effective Internet-based solutions to enable anyone to use the Internet to teach and learn. Kiko builds products and "Knowledge Networks" that connect teachers and learners who share knowledge in schools, universities, businesses, associations and other environments.

PLATFORMS: We run MicroStrategy Web Business Analyzer (part of MicroStrategy CRM Applications) on a Windows NT platform with Oracle8i, Sun Solaris hardware and Windows 2000 desktops.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We needed a 360-degree view of visitors to Kiko's site, requiring that all information about customer preferences and interactions reside in a single repository. We use this information to record member profiles and preferences for use in permission-based marketing. In addition to Web-site usage, membership growth, lesson creation, viewing and popularity analysis, we wanted to send personalized broadcast reports to Kiko business users and customers.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: MicroStrategy Web Business Analyzer gives business users and developers easy access to all the data captured by the Web application to generate e-mail marketing campaigns targeting particular segments of our members. Kiko uses Web log analysis to determine the effectiveness of campaigns and track which links are driving traffic. Through member conversion rates for referrals from mailings and affiliate sites, we are able to recognize early trends and make appropriate adjustments. Customers of Kiko "Knowledge Networks" are supplied with automated e-mail reports, allowing network administrators to analyze the behavior and performance of students using their content. The analyses available for fine tuning the public Kiko site (including member behavior, most popular resources and paths chosen from individual pages within the site) will also be available to our customers to ensure that they can offer the best possible service to their students and educators.

STRENGTHS: Other vendors in this space offer limited adaptability and packaged solutions tailored for business- to-consumer or business-to-business applications. MicroStrategy's tools combine the flexibility and scalability of a platform with the ease of use and quick time to market of a packaged solution, allowing us to fine-tune the application to our particular business. No other packaged solution we looked at could meet the unique requirements of our education segment. In addition, we will embed MicroStrategy InfoCenter and MicroStrategy Broadcaster in our product to present value-added services to our customers.

WEAKNESSES: At the time of the Kiko implementation, MicroStrategy's data model was primarily geared toward the retail industry – some of the functionality was not directly applicable to the Kiko business model. It is easily customizable, however; and we have tuned the application to meet our requirements. The suite also did not have a Web log ETL component. These issues are addressed in the new version, which is built on the MicroStrategy 7 platform and includes built-in ETL tools and expanded support of multiple industries.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Kiko needed a flexible tool that would quickly adapt to changing demands, readily import any changes to the information collected on the Web site to the data warehouse and present it via an easy-to-use interface. The rich functionality of MicroStrategy's platform allows information from many sources to be incorporated into the data model. This gives the benefit of rapid implementation but also allows relatively easy modification to fit specific business requirements. Prior experience working with MicroStrategy was also an important factor in the selection process.

DELIVERABLES: Kiko uses MicroStrategy Web Business Analyzer software to deliver Web performance data and statistics on members, lessons and learning centers. This information allows us to enhance the features and functionality of our product to meet customer requirements. Kiko is also able to maintain the quality of learning materials on the site and extract mailing lists for those members who opt in for product information.

VENDOR SUPPORT: My experience with MicroStrategy has always been very good. Their consultants are well-trained in the tools and data warehouse design. Technical support is very responsive. An engineer is always available on the phone during normal working hours.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is well-structured and comprehensive. The technical support Web site contains an extensive knowledge base that answers most user questions.

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